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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

REALITY OF LIFE...DEATH

happy-sad-faces

Being in an oncology ward, parents such as myself go through a myriad of emotions.  There are good days, celebrating things like remission of cancer or the small things like not being nauseous  , there are so-so days where you just try to survive and there are days like today where you are extremely sad.  The past three years, Andrew has had many roommates when admitted at Children's.  He has seen many of them multiple times through out the years, but one in particular today saddened our family.  Michael who Andrew has roomed in the past and was Andrew's roommate up until yesterday, passed away from brain cancer at the age of 11.   Yesterday, a whole team of health care givers rushed in to urgently care for Michael who was "crashing".  Andrew was asked to leave the room, since he was not accessed to an i.v.. Michael passed away in the i.c.u  early this morning.  I found out when I arrived back at Children's today and saw Michael's father, Thomas, who was waiting outside the room to apparently get some stuff he left behind.  I noticed his eyes were bloodshot and asked how Michael was.  He soberly said Michael passed away.  I was at a loss for words!  I just gave him a hug and said nothing.  What do you say to a man who just lost his child?  Really what do you say?  I have told others wondering how to approach me or wondering what to say to me when I am grieving or down and I just tell them to say hi and just be.  Just be there and not say too much. What could I possibly say!  I was just feeling as a parent.  Words were totally inadequate in a situation like this.  I tried to hide my sadness and tears as I told Andrew.  Thomas was still in the room getting his belongings when Andrew got up and said he was sorry.  I laid down with Andrew and asked him if he was ok and he just talked about what had happened when Michael crashed and was asked to leave.  

I asked the floor social worker to come in and check in on Andrew and when she came, Andrew asked why and said he didn't want to talk, but begrudgingly relented.  It turned out Andrew talked to Heidi the social worker for 40 minutes.  Andrew has had several close friends, from cancer winter and summer camps he regularly attends, who have passed away because of cancer. Andrew was sad Michael passed away, but he knows this is a part of life.  I give due respect to Andrew for he does open up and talk about his feelings.  Looks can be deceiving with Andrew.  He may seem quiet and look like a gentle giant, but he does share his feelings with Jennifer and myself.   

As far as how I am, blogging and journaling like I am now does wonders for me.  I have journaled for the past 15 years and it can be cathartic.  It allows me to process what I am feeling and gives me an avenue to vent.  The past week has been extremely difficult for me emotionally, I believe part in parcel due to the past few months stresses catching up to me.  I have gotten angry, said, sat on my pity potty, anxious and thought about the future and how bad it could be.  To be honest, the "why" question came up and was directly pointed to God.  Some can say considering the stresses of what I have gone through, it is perfectly normal to do so.  But I forgot one simple promise by God.  A promise that was reminded to me during a conversation with another parent on the floor I had today and who I have grown close with.  While my friend was reminding to take it one step at a time, our blog's namesake,  Proverbs 3:5-6 came to mind:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

I was trusting in my humanness, my own understanding.  Once I do look elsewhere other than God, life get's rather overwhelming.  I believe the name of Andrew's blog and his summer and winter camps: One Step at a Time, is Biblical.  God wants us to take it one day at time and let tomorrow take care of itself as it says in scripture. 

UPDATE;

Andrew came home this Sunday from a five day stay for pain management, but returned late Monday night for neutropenic fever.  Neutropenia is a result of low blood counts from the result of chemotherapy.  Andrew's has little or no infection fighting capabilities at the moment, thus being prone to infection and fever.  This is absolutely normal and counts will begin to rise in a few weeks.  Andrew needs to be fever free for 24 hours before he has any chance of leaving.  Hopefully, he will be released late next week.  Unfortunately, Children's Memorial has become our second home. 

Please continue to pray for a perfect match and that match will be found soon!  With that being said, many of you have asked how you could help our family out.  Many of you have brought meals, material things and above all prayed.  But I ask you to do one big thing: get tested to be a possible bone marrow donor or encourage 
as many people to get tested. 
I BEG YOU TO DO SO! ANDREW'S LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!  FOR PARENTS OUT THERE, WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR YOUR KIDS?  FOR THE REST OF YOU, WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR YOU LOVED ONES?  I THINK I KNOW THE ANSWER.  PLEASE JOIN ME IN HELP GETTING AS MANY PEOPLE REGISTERED FOR THE BONE MARROW REGISTRY. 
For those that can't make it to a bone marrow drive, an easy way to get registered is to goto the national registry website: http://marrow.org/Home.aspx

Here is list of upcoming bone marrow drives:
Sunday, March 4th
ASSI Supermarket
8901 N. Milwaukee Ave
Niles, IL 60704 
1pm to 4pm click here for store info:

Sunday, March 4th
Everyday Church 
8:30am-2:30pm
17037 Devonshire Street  Northridge, CA 91325
(818) 832-6628



Tuesday March 6th and Wednesday March 7th

University of Illinois Circle Campus: Sponsored by Servants
9am to 4pm 
Outside the S.C.E Bookstore

Click here for more info: tinyurl.com/bethematchuic

Sunday March 11th
Hmart SuperMarket
1pm to 4pm
801Civic Center Dr.
Niles, IL 60714

Click here for store info: 


Wednesday March 14th
University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana:
10am to 5pm
Illini Union: Courtyard Cafe
Click here for more info on the Cafe:

Sunday March 18th
Parkwood Community Church
12pm to 3pm
350 N. Addison Ave
Villa Park, IL
Click here for more info on location:

Sunday March 18th
Pasadena Presbyterian Church

585 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena CA 91101

1:30pm to ?

Click here for more info on location:


Check out the great turnout at one of the bone marrow drives:

I BEG YOU TO RESHARE THIS ON SOCIAL MEDIA OR WHATEVER WAY YOU CAN.  ANDREW'S AND OTHER'S LIVES ARE RIDING ON IT! 
REMEMBER: http://marrow.org/Home.aspx

This weekend Everyday Church in southern California registered 150!!!!

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE!  LET'S KEEP UP THE CAUSE FOR ANDREW, CONNOR (CLICK HERE FOR CONNOR'S STORY:http://www.savingconnor.com/) and COUNTLESS OTHER'S THAT NEED THIS LIFE SAVING CURE!!!!




5 comments:

  1. Proverbs 3:5-6 are in the top three of my favorite verses, also. Thanks for your bold witness and perseverance in the face of intense struggles.

    My kids pray for Andrew every morning on the way to school. We are all hoping that he is given good health and can have a cancer-free life.

    --Tim

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    Replies
    1. Hey brother! Thanks for all the support and your affirmation! I appreciate you and your family praying for Andrew.

      In Him,
      Joe

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  2. Hyung,
    You don't know how much I respect Andrew, you and Jennifer. Andrew has taught me so much about love and strength through the way he has handled himself the last couple of months while you and Jennifer have shown me the meaning of perseverance and endurance. At every meal, Margot prays for Andrew and says his name throughout the day. We miss you all very much, and you know that we are here for Andrew and you all.

    Albert

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  3. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
    “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

    Joe, Jennifer, I pray that God will comfort you and your family during this time and that you can comfort Michael's family in turn. It's a humbling reminder that God holds our lives in His hands and all that we can do is try to fight the good fight. I continue to pray for your perseverance and that He shields all of you!

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  4. We had a stay in on the oncology/rheumatology floor with my 11 year old (now 13) and knew one of the patients who lost their battle while we were inpatient. Words cannot describe how difficult this is. I am sorry that you and your son had to experience it, and my thoughts and prayers go out to Michael's family. We know of Andrew's fight through a mutual friend, and although I have never commented before, you have been in our prayers. I am encouraged by your recent postings (3/14/12) and hope all the best for your family. I am a registered donor too. You all are making a difference!

    ReplyDelete